"Lots of moments of calm, of serenity (the very beautiful "Either Way" and "Msab"), a few more intense passages ("Undress")"Jazzmania, 02-12-2021
The collaboration between Shakuar and the Residentie Orkest began in 2020. The world was shook by the COVID-19 pandemic, and performing artists were dealing with severe and unprecedented restrictions. The Residentie Orkest was unable to perform in their symphonic line-up, and ironically, as concerts got cancelled, a new space for collaboration was created.
During the warm days of the Dutch summer, COVID measures relaxed. It was the time for the Gnawa Festival organized by Multicultureel Jongeren Geluid and Zuiderstrandtheater, home to the Residentie Orkest. This festival, which took place in The Hague, is inspired by the famous Gnaoua World Music Festival in Essaouira, Morocco, an extraordinary seaside city where many important international artistic encounters have taken place. The Festival celebrates the Gnawa, a pseudo-ethnic group and musical style where West African traditional culture meets Moroccan Sufi Islam. Gnawa music is deeply spiritual, sacred in fact, and performed for healing purposes. Shakuar was invited to the Gnawa Festival and the idea for the collaboration with an ensemble of the orchestra was born.
Gijs Kramers was appointed as the musical arranger for this concert. He worked closely with Shakuar on how to translate and reinterpret their eclectic electronic music for an acoustic ensemble. They choose the line up with care: strings section, harp, French horn and percussion. Considering the characteristic role of deep low frequencies and manipulated sounds in the Shakuar sound, they teamed up with guest musicians Quincell Adolphin on electric bass/Moog and Jorrit Tamminga for live sound design.
Following numerous Zoom sessions, living room meetings, and rehearsals with the ensemble, it was time to bring all elements to the stage.
The concert took place on September 12, 2020 in De Nieuwe Kerk in the Hague. Built in 1649, the organic shaped décor and wooden structures of the pulpit stood in stark contrast with the obligatory 1,5m distance on stage. The orchestra was dressed in signature black, and Shakuar was dressed in black/silver leather garments by Dutch designer Vanderwilt who blended artificial and organic layers symbolizing the union of tradition and futurism. A historic place of worship transformed into the scenery for a contemporary musical ritual grounded in intimacy despite the physical borders.
The concert was performed twice. This album contains the recording of the very first show. With an audience of 100, the night was sold out.
We are grateful that this special moment has been captured for posterity during such a challenging and historic time. May it offer a moment of relief and joy for listeners around the world.
Shakuar unites vocalists Shishani & Karima el Fillali who perform with a deep sense of intimacy, creating enchanting and transformative music.
Their work marks a musical friendship with Western classical music, 90s R&B and Hip-Hop. Growing up in European & African households, they also share a parallel quest for the musical roots of their African parents. For Karima this path led to an introspective journey to Morocco, and for Shishani to her country of birth, Namibia. The immersion into the musical landscapes of their African heritage while living in the Netherlands opened the door to a broad vision for music, its instruments, poetry and role in society. This gave birth to the Shakuar sound.
Shakuar reflects a dynamic cultural space drawing on numerous musical traditions. Whether from the Lowlands, Sahara or the Kalahari, there is one common thread: transcendence. Centuries old African and European mysticism come together in contemporary electronic styles.
As the singers alternate between different languages (Oshiwambo, Darija, Arabic, English, French and Spanish) and as their voices melt into and out of each other, Shakuar challenges the notion of separate identities and cultural divides. Instead it seeks to invite and create space to meet and communicate at the level of being.
Residentie Orkest The Hague proves that even in the 21st century, symphonic music can still be meaningful to large and diverse audiences. Its reputation as one of the finest orchestras in Europe makes it an appropriate figurehead for The Hague as a cosmopolitan city of justice, peace, and culture. The orchestra performs concert series in the Zuiderstrandtheater in Scheveningen and in addition performs at venues such as Concertgebouw Amsterdam, TivoliVredenburg Utrecht and De Doelen in Rotterdam. Special crossover and innovative productions are also provided at The Hague’s prominent pop venue Paard van Troje throughout the season. The Residentie Orkest performs regularly at various other major concert halls abroad. Tours have brought the orchestra to New York, Boston, Chicago, London and Vienna amongst others and the orchestra also performed in countries like Japan, China, Germany, France and South America. There are also many prolific collaborations with a wide range of partners, including the Dutch National Theatre, Gemeentemuseum and the Dutch National Opera. Recent seasons have seen a much acclaimed production of Messiaen’s rarely performed opera Saint François d’Asisse and Poulenc’s Dialogues des Carmélites.
A rich history Since its first concert in 1904, the Residentie Orkest has developed into one of the prominent symphony orchestras of The Netherlands. Founded by Dr Henri Viotta, who was also its first principal conductor, it quickly attracted composers like Richard Strauss, Igor Stravinsky, Max Reger, Maurice Ravel, Paul Hindemith and Vincent d’Indy. Guest conductors included Arturo Toscanini, Bruno Walter, Leonard Bernstein and Hans Knappertsbusch.
After World War II, Willem van Otterloo was appointed chief conductor. He led the orchestra from 1949 to 1973 and built a strong reputation by combining high-quality performances with adventurous programming. Van Otterloo was succeeded by Jean Martinon, Ferdinand Leitner, Hans Vonk, Evgenii Svetlanov, Jaap van Zweden and Neeme Järvi.
Chief conductor Starting season 2018/2019 Nicholas Collon is chief conductor and artistic advisor of the Residentie Orkest. Richard Egarr will join the orchestra as principal guest conductor in 2019. Until the summer of 2019 Jan Willem de Vriend will act as principal conductor.
Lots of moments of calm, of serenity (the very beautiful "Either Way" and "Msab"), a few more intense passages ("Undress")
3/4 It is cosmos related music, very spiritual, sacred indeed, and meant to soothe and heal hearts and minds. Fifty minutes of discovery, serenity and beauty.
Le Soir, 03-11-2021
The fusion of their two voices is particularly beautiful, creating a particularly atmospheric sound.